Don't expect 5G smartphones to become mainstream for several more years

Don't expect 5G smartphones to become mainstream for several more years
The world’s first 5G-capable smartphone (well, kind of) is already up for grabs, even though you still need to wait until next year to actually get your 5G-enabling Moto Mod for Verizon’s Moto Z3.

Meanwhile, LG and Sprint have a partnership of their own lined up to help commercial 5G technology take off as soon as possible, with semiconductor giants Samsung, Qualcomm, and Intel obviously busy putting the finishing touches to the high-speed modems and processors that will power the next generation of flagship mobile devices.

With all that in mind, you might be expecting 5G connectivity to become the new normal in no more than a couple of years. According to fresh Digitimes Research projections, mainstream adoption will be significantly slower than we want to imagine, with a measly one million 5G-enabled “end devices” likely to reach actual customers next year.

That includes smartphones, CPE (consumer premise equipment), and Wi-Fi devices, although by 2022, phones are tipped to achieve total 5G market domination, with a 97 percent share of global shipments. 

Still, even four years down the line, 5G handsets are only expected to account for 18 percent of overall smartphone shipments around the world. That’s after a forecasted 2021 boost in “large-scale” numbers, and it would merely signify one in five phones sold worldwide being equipped with 5G capabilities.

The slow adoption and expansion of 5G speeds will presumably be caused by sluggish network upgrades and other limitations of an infrastructural nature, as well as the no doubt high costs associated with implementing the technology on low to mid-end devices.

source: Digitimes



1. toukale

Posts: 668; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

Well, what do we expect all the hardware oem's to push as selling point if not 5G. Although we all know this to be true, all those oem's will start pushing 5G devices as the next best thing, even when coverage is non existent. Those of us who likes specs for specs sake will eat it up as usual and declare everything else who does not include 5G chip as a failure or lack of being innovative. It happens every time. I will expect all the Chinese and no name brands to be ones of the first to push this. Can't blame them though, what else are they going to push?

2. geordie8t1

Posts: 307; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

4g devices arrived before 4g was even a thing, i call this rubbish, most big players in the phone industry had produced devices capable of accessing 3.5g or H+ and 4g, even though only london hadnt even began rolling out the network with EE, contracts followed shortly after even though most cities wouldnt see 4g for at least another 12-24 months, samsung already has 2 5g capable handsets in the works and qualcomm will have its 5g SoC no doubt ready before the end of the year so then it will just be the carriers who need to roll out the tech

3. BullaBoss

Posts: 141; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Well I struggle to get a 3G signal in my bedroom! And LTE is barely available here in Jamaica. I'll have 5G in 2040. I recently tried LTE and did a speed test. 70Mbps down is amazing. Probably because most people have incompatible handsets the LTE channel is free.

4. superguy

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2011

I think we're at a point where for most people, LTE is "good enough" that people aren't chomping at the bit as much for faster as we have in the past. Before, we were wanting fast downloads and the ability to stream HD and we needed faster and better for that. LTE's achieved that, so what's next? Perhaps VR/AR ... while cool, most people can and do live without it. Speed is great and all, but at what point does it become enough for what most people need? Please note that I'm well aware that there are people who have a need for all the speed and bandwidth that they can be fed, and having options to meet those people's needs is a good thing. But looking at the rest of the 95+% - where companies are going to make their decisions - how many will need all that it can provide? Truth be told, I have a gigabit FiOS connection, but for the most part, I'm not doing anything that my previous 300Mb connection couldn't easily fill. With a slower rollout, they can have the groundwork in place and add more capacity is needed. So that leaves the big question: what's the killer app? I think 5G uptake on the cell side will be slower until there's a killer app that makes it a must-have. I see 5G's value as an infrastructure for home/business use in places where building out fiber infrastructure isn't practical - such as rural areas and smaller towns. But for cell service? I expect much slower uptake due to less demand for "more" and LTE still having a good bit of life left in it. I think we're in for a bit of a lull over the next few years, until that killer app comes.

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